Former UConn center Andre Drummond spent some time with the media Wednesday afternoon at a midtown New York hotel to talk about Thursday’s NBA Draft and his spot in it. Here’s a few of his comments:
–Drummond says he’s not sure what his destination will be but he’s positive he’s not No. 1 overall. Beyond that…
“I’ve heard anything from two to six, two to seven,” Drummond said.
Drummond has held private workouts for five teams.
“Portland, Sacramento, Cleveland, Charlotte, Washington,” he says, rattling the teams off quickly.
— He insists he doesn’t read any media reports about his game or his potential, but Drummond has obviously heard some of the whispers that he’s a major risk.
“Hearing stuff like that, I don’t really take it to my head or get upset about it,” Drummond said. “Nobody really knows what I’m capable of doing. They just saw what they saw this year. They don’t know what I’m going to do this season coming up.”
Drummond insists the gripes some have about him (work ethic, motor) are unfounded.
“I’m not really worried about that. I’m just going to come in and work hard, all that stuff about me being a bust is going to be put to rest,” Drummond said.
“Whatever team I go to, in preseason all that talk will be put to rest,” Drummond said. “I am a hard-worker. There’s nothing wrong with my motor.”
— Drummond has been working with Idan Ravin, a noted trainer of NBA talent in New York recently. He’s lost 22 pounds and is feeling good about his game.
“I feel great,” Drummond said. “I feel quicker laterally. I move quicker on my feet.”
— Drummond says he doesn’t plan on going to a team and dominating right away.
“It’s just going to take time,” Drummond said. “Nobody’s coming in looking to be a superstar. I’m just going to come in, play my role and let my cards fall.”
What will he bring immediately?
“I’ll definitely run the floor well, grab rebounds, block shots and let the offense come to me,” Drummond said. “I’m not really going to stress too much on the offense. That’s one of the things I’ve been working on a lot. I’ve worked real hard on my offensive game. But right now my defense is the strongest part of my game. That’s one thing I can guarantee I bring to the table.”
How has his game changed since leaving UConn a short time ago?
“My back-to-the-basket game is definitely a whole lot stronger,” Drummond said. “My free throw shot has been getting better. I fixed the release on my jump shot; it’s higher now. As a player I’ve gotten a whole lot better.”
— The smile didn’t leave Drummond’s face for very long during his interviews Wednesday.
“There’s a lot of joy, a lot of excitement. I’m just excited to be here,” Drummond said. “I can’t wait for tomorrow to come around.”
— He’s consulted a few current NBA stars about the process and life in general in the league.
“I talked to Rudy Gay, Ray Allen, Kevin Durant,” Drummond said. “They all pretty much told me the same thing. Once you get drafted, just don’t stop working hard because you can really make it here. When you hear your name called, just give it your all every single day.”
— He doesn’t have big plans for the windfall he’s about to hit Thursday.
“I’m going to put my money away, really just save it,” Drummond said. “There’s nothing on my list of what I want. I’m just going to put my money away.”
— Drummond admits he was disappointed with how UConn’s season ended.
“It was tough, it was upsetting that we lost in the first round,” Drummond said. “But we had a lot of things that happened to us throughout the season. We had to fight a whole lot of battles through the season that kind of messed us up a lot.”
— Drummond said it’s been a whirlwind year at UConn but one he’ll miss.
“My years kind of flew by for me,” Drummond said. “It’s good and bad. I didn’t really get to experience my college years. I never finished out high school, really. I graduated early, which is also good, because it means I had good grades.”
“Connecticut’s like a big family. I love Connecticut with all my heart,” Drummond said. “The fans there are amazing. My teammates are amazing. The coaching staff is great.”
— Drummond confirmed what was pretty apparent. He was going to leave UConn after one year regardless of the postseason ban the Huskies now face.
“No, I think was going to leave regardless of the tournament or not,” Drummond said. “This is an opportunity that comes up not too many times. I think it was an opportunity I need to take and move forward with my life.”
— Drummond worked out with Thomas Robinson of Kansas a couple of times as the two auditioned for NBA parts.
“That was the first time I worked out against somebody full-court. All the other workouts it was kind of 1-on-1 in the post. This was was 3-on-3 with me, him and two other guards each,” Drummond said.
“I told Thomas before the workouts ‘Yo, I’m here to work. We’re not here to B.S. I’m trying to get something done here.’ And he looked at me ‘Alright, let’s go at it. We’ll make each other better today.’ ”